After posting on my new blog and submitting an article on this website, I realized that I am writing something that may not be as relevant to the older folks as it is to the younger ones. In Part 1 of this series, I spoke about having a zoomed-out view of things and focusing on what matters most, which is our emotions and how they affect our lives. If you’re a young man, that’s how you look at things. You’re looking to move forward and position yourself in a life situation that is better than today, then better than next year, then better than the following year, and so on. I’m not too young of a man (I’m in my early 30’s), but I’m still at a point in my life where I have to work hard to be able to do exactly that.
If you’re trying to move forward in life like I am, you’re going to think of different alternatives to the status quo. Instead of being content in a zoomed-in view, you’re going to try to zoom out and see what can be changed from up there. If you’re zoomed in on this issue of Fili fail, for example, your concern would be about how blameworthy the Filipino is or how I seem be taking sides with them. The truth is, I’m not too emotionally invested in those things (though I agree that Filipinos are blameworthy but I disagree that I am siding with them). What I care about is what’s the best way to move forward. Not that there’s something wrong with what you’re doing, but I have to mention that so you know where I’m coming from as you read this post.
I’m trying to move forward but we all know we can only do so much to try to change such a jungle of a country as the Philippines. Tarzan can try to landscape the whole jungle and ask the leeches to stop being leeches and the snakes to stop being snakes, but that is not only a tall order, it is an impossible one. If something is impossible, you turn your head and look for what else is possible and then work on it. That’s the mentality of a man who is in a zoomed-out position, and for this post only, that’s the position we’re going to assume.
Our situations may be different so what applies to me may not apply to you. But remember, this post is not about ‘How To Deal With Filogic Encounters’ but ‘How I Deal’ with them. Whether you learn anything that you can apply in your life is totally up to you. If you’re married to a filogic-prone Filipina and you live outside of the Philippines, probably very little of what I say here will apply to you. But then again, I’m not talking about how you need to do things but how I do it. And how I do it is what works for me. Sharing is caring, and because I care, I share. But what I share may or may not work for you.
If from time to time I seem to be suggesting that you do this or you do that, understand that that is just my way of effectively explaining it. As I said in Part 1, you don’t have to throw PhilippineFailBlog out the window. But to the younger folks out there (and some of the older ones as well) who can relate to what I’m going to say down below, you may want to use it in conjunction with PFB therapy.
If we’re talking about sanity maintenance, I’m probably more open-minded in my approach than you are, which is why in Part 1 I talked about the possibility of adding a counterbalance to go along with therapy. Therapy is like taking a bullet in your body and having it removed. A counterbalance is like wearing a bulletproof vest. Not all the bullets will hit the vest so you may still need therapy anyways. But if you ask me, given a choice I would much rather choose to wear a bulletproof vest than not have one on.
I used to get irritated a lot by the rampant and never-ending manifestations of filogic and filethic. Like I mentioned, the sheer abundance was overwhelming. I was taking bullets here and there all because I wanted to cause a change in my family and I was very opinionated about the government and the neighbors and the tricycles and the people’s attitudes and lack of common sense. It used to drive me crazy, especially when close relations were involved. As it turned out in my case, one counterbalance (my childhood experiences) was not enough. But the addition of a second counterbalance made the whole thing shift to the other side. I’m not talking about dumbing yourself down to adapt to filogic. Pretending you have a small mind just so you’re able to adapt in a small-minded world will never work.
Just to make sure we’re speaking the same language here, take note that the language we’re going to use is emotional/mental health, and I’m speaking about it like a young man who’s looking forward to bright things ahead. If you’re going to speak in the language of Filipino blameworthiness or how I’m contributing to the diseases of this country, you’re missing the point. You need to do a little bit more zooming out. I’ve been setting an example and trying to educate people on my views ever since I became an adult and I’ve been landscaping my part of the jungle on other fronts, so don’t try to accuse me of anything just because I choose to cause change without sacrificing my own mental health and well-being. But again, that is a whole different topic altogether and it’s something we’re not going to delve into here in this post.
With that said, here’s the counterbalance I use, which is essentially how I deal with filogical/filethical encounters:
Imagine you are about to rent a house for $1000 a month, but before you sign the lease the landlord tells you that she may decide to raise the rent to $1100 after a year. You say, okay, deal. You sign the lease and get on with it.
A year passes and the landlord tells you, ‘Hey, I am increasing the rent to $1100 beginning next month’. So you say, ‘well, okay.’ You like the place anyway. Maybe you’re not happy with the fact that you are now going to pay an extra $100 every month, but you’re kind of expecting it anyway. You are not surprised that it happens, so it’s not too much of a big deal.
Now imagine the same scenario, but this time the landlord does not tell you prior to the signing of the lease that the rent might go up to $1100 after a year. So you rent this place for $1000 per month, and again you like the house, the location and all. A year passes and your landlord calls you and says, “Hey, beginning next month your rent will be $1100.”
This time you react emotionally. All of a sudden the extra $100 is a big deal. You feel bad about it because you have no expectation that it would happen. You may even find yourself arguing with your landlord or cursing her privately. It affects you emotionally. Unlike in the first scenario, you have to go through this kind of stress and negativity just because you don’t have the right expectations about life.
But here is the question: is it reasonable to expect that if a landlord can increase the rent (assuming it is perfectly legal), she’s going to attempt to do so? Yes! Because that’s just how people are. People want to make more money and they will try to do it if they can. It is definitely a realistic expectation to have. And because it is, you can save yourself the hassle of going through that kind of stress by not being surprised that it happens. If this is your way of thinking, it wouldn’t affect you that much. You can recover and move on to other things more quickly. It may not be as smooth sailing as in the first scenario where the landlord forewarns you of the increase, but hey, in real life we’re not always reminded of everything. We can just reason by ourselves and not depend on other people telling us what to expect.
Now let’s fly to the land of pesos and ask a similar question. Is it reasonable to expect that if a Filipino can do the most illogical and unethical things in the world, he’s going to do so? Yes, absolutely! That’s what experience tells us and that’s just the reality of it. These things really do happen and we cannot do much to change it. It is a fact that the peoples of this planet do not have the same rate of intellectual evolution, history and physical environment as each other so there can be a flawed nature in a certain people, such as the Filipinos, that you can only hope would evolve faster. But while it is what it is, you have to live with it.
That’s the way I deal with the whole thing. I have an expectation that filogic and filethic will manifest themselves. I don’t always think about them, but whenever the manifestations occur, I’m not surprised.
If I have a reasonable expectation that something may happen and it does happen, I don’t react emotionally as if I’m surprised about it. In the case of the Filipinos’ behavior, it’s not even just a reasonable expectation. It’s not like it’s your first time to experience renting a place and being told that your rent will be increased. It’s more like you are forewarned about it over and over again by your past experiences.
Being aware that filogic and filethic exist is like knowing beforehand that the rent might increase by $100 after the first year. So whenever I see filogic manifesting itself, I try not to react emotionally as if I’m surprised that it happens, because the truth is I already am fully expecting that it will happen.
Instead of reacting emotionally by feeling bad or angry about it, I react purposefully. If I know that I will leave a filogical encounter unharmed anyway, I don’t let the thought escalate to me being irritated about it. We all know we can’t do anything to change them anyway. We cannot change an adult’s IQ any more than we can change his height. So if I overhear a Filipino saying the most illogical thing ever, it wouldn’t do me any good to give any further thought to it. I am fully expecting that something like that will happen in the first place, so it’s not much of a big deal.
But if it can potentially harm me or another person (or the public), I do something about it if I can but the rule is, I react purposefully. This is not without exceptions, though. Not all filogical and filethical manifestations are the same so in some cases I really have to react emotionally, especially when I need to right a wrong where if I don’t show I’m mad, they will not act on it. But at the same time, I react purposefully by not letting the emotion affect me longer than necessary. Reacting purposefully means going after positive results, and to me no positive result can be had by trying to change the Filipino or feeling bad about the fact that they have all these flaws. I already know it. I just accept that by nature they have those flaws and I cannot do much about it. If I feel bad about it, then I’ve got a lot to feel bad about and that’s going to be pain in my life.
If for whatever reason you cannot leave the “house” of the filogical Filipinos, I’m sure you already know what to expect so try not to react emotionally as if you still don’t know that filogic and filethic exist. It doesn’t help to be hating on your “landlords”, either. You’re going to be “paying that extra $100” whether you like it or not because you decided to stay after the 12th month.
What does help, however, is this: instead of letting yourself take the bait and go straight through the negative emotion, try to go around it until you reach the other side, where a positive result is waiting, either for your benefit or others’. The emotion might be ‘thick and heavy’ so if you try to go straight through, you might end up getting stuck and failing to get any result other than the fact that you’re now wrapped in that emotion. Sometimes it’s thin but it doesn’t matter. Thick or thin, if you go through that emotion you’re going to have to wash it away afterwards. In a sense, that’s what this website helps people accomplish — it’s a wash basin for all these emotions. That is why you’re doing this ‘for therapeutic purposes’. But I don’t visit this website for that purpose because frankly I have no negative emotion to wash away. I go to this website purely to enjoy logic being articulated, because logic is so much more enjoyable when it’s articulated where you have never seen it articulated before, in a way you have never seen it done, especially when it’s about something familiar, such as life in this country.
But as far as dealing with encounters of the filogical kind, I try to separate myself from the emotion by circumventing it instead of going right through it. My mind just says ‘that’s expected’, then I do what I have to do. It’s not always perfect but by reacting like this, I have nothing or very little to wash away later. If I’m tainted then I wash on the spot.
It’s similar to fighting in MMA. You have to separate yourself from the emotion and focus on the game plan. If you let your trash-talking opponent get into your head, you may react emotionally and lose the fight. But if you deal with it purposefully, you will not allow something like that to happen because in your mind you’re always looking for results.
To me one important result is to have peace in my heart and a positive rhythm in my life. If you let the Filipino get into your head, you’re not going to get that result. You’ll lose the fight. You don’t know it, but he beats you. He’s going to walk away and he’s never going to know the difference. Meanwhile, you’re left with the task of washing away dirt from your body. And this process goes on and on.
If I see a Filipino manifesting the dreaded and sickening “pinoy pride,” for instance, I’m given two choices: either hate that person (which is usually followed by extending that feeling towards Filipinos in general — because it reinforces similar thoughts in the mental cache) or not allow that emotion to occupy any more cerebral real estate and just move on to other things. I always choose the latter because frankly, it doesn’t surprise me anymore. After all, hate is an ill feeling and when you feel bad over and over again, you lose. Again to me it’s all about not taking the bait of going straight through the emotion and just reacting purposefully.
Again I do not intend to force this principle upon the expat. What I’m just doing is sharing with you what it is like from my perspective. And from my perspective, instead of only one factor there are three factors that interact with the manifestations of filogic and filethic: my bigger, more reasonable mind that is easily irritated by such manifestations, my having experienced not being irritated by them during my early years, and my stoic approach to the expected, which helps me deal with this issue in a different way. One being counterbalanced by two, makes my life in the wild a little bit more peaceful.
Not reacting emotionally to expected things is something that I use in other areas of my life as well, specifically during stressful situations. For example, if my business fails or a girl rejects me, I might feel bad about it but not to the point of being devastated or incapacitated by it in the days ahead. Why? Because I have a reasonable expectation that it might happen. That’s how businesses and women are. They fail and they reject men, respectively, under different circumstances. Even before I start a business or approach a girl, I know that it might fail so I’m ready for that kind of result. I’m sort of expecting it anyway so it’s not too much of a big deal. I simply move on. In the words of youtuber Malkhaz Geldiashvili, from whom I borrowed the rent scenario, if a friend stabs you in the back, you either let it affect your life or get over it sooner rather than later. The latter is better. After all, what are you expecting? Friends have been stabbing each other in the back ever since friendships even began.
If you’re wondering why I look at things this way, it’s probably because I’m zoomed out and you’re still zoomed in on the issue. You’re never going to see what I see from that position, just as you’re not going to see the whole Asian mainland if you’re zoomed in on Beijing. I am able to zoom in which is why I can agree with you, but you’ve got to be able to zoom out to see what I see.
If all you can do is look at things from a zoomed-in position, you’re going to ask me questions like, ‘Are you saying let’s turn a blind eye to the Filipinos’ transgressions? No wonder this country is shit’. Look, brother, all along I’ve been speaking in the language of mental and emotional health, and up to this point you’re trying to speak to me in a different language. Turning a blind eye like that is spoken in the context of not trying to right a wrong, but as much as I agree with you that we need to right the wrong or at least address it, I’m talking about a different thing here altogether, which is how I deal with filogic and filethic on an emotional level. And like I said, I react to it purposefully and I do something about it if I can, so I’m not turning a blind eye. I take notice; I’m just not surprised.
I’m not 100% bulletproof, but I’m doing better with the vest on than without. It works for me so it might work for others too, especially the open-minded and the younger generations who need to move forward in life with as few emotional distractions as possible.
I’m aware that it’s all a matter of preference. I don’t know about you, but I prefer to keep my sanity by using a counterbalancing mindset over maintaining my sanity by exclusively undergoing an endless cycle of dip (in the negative emotion)-wash-dip-wash-dip-wash-dip… Who knows, you might not be washing it away after all but only collecting it inside.
In the end, I’m not a leech and I’m not a snake. I’m not the one who’s making your life difficult here. I’m a friend, and I’m just sharing my point of view.